Notes: Power steering problems are a major issue with the 2004 Mini Cooper, with hundreds of owners reporting complaints to the NHTSA about their power steering suddenly failing while driving.

Some power steering failures have caused crashes & injuries. Average mileage at failure is well under 100,000 miles & the repair cost is over $1,000. Not good.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,059 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Mini Cooper steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 13 of 21)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #177

Jun 052011


  • 37,854 miles


The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper S. the contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the power steering failed and the steering wheel became very difficult to turn. The vehicle was pulled over and shut off. Upon restart, the vehicle momentarily operated as normal before the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken home and parked. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 37,854.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #176

Jun 012011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
My 2004 MINIexperienced intermittent steering problems in Feb. Of 2011. Steering became difficult at times and then nearly all the time. Got new power steering pump. Mostly fixed but felt odd at times. Steering became permanently difficult in June 2011 and had pump replaced but didn't fix the problem. Advised to replace rack and pinion. Plan to do so. Steering bills at about $2,000.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #175

May 282011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Intermittent power steering failure. Power steering has gone out twice, both times this was noticeable shortly after starting the vehicle (backing out of driveway). In the first incident, power steering returned after driving about half a block. In the second incident (a couple months later), power steering did not return while driving (1 mile), but returned when car was started the following day. Dealership service center is currently unable to pinpoint issue through car's computer, but power steering pump is suspected. Car is under 30K miles.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #174

Mar 082011


  • 112,000 miles


Power steering fails. On multiple occasions the power steering has failed, both while driving as well as after just starting the car. The problem is intermittent and I see no pattern to it's occurrence. Typically it is remedied by turning off the car and re-starting. There has been a few occasions where it will sputter in and out before it goes out completely but the most common occurrence is when I start the car, there's is no power steering.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #173

May 092011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. The contact was driving 70 mph when the power steering malfunctioned and the vehicle became difficult to control. The contact stated that the power steering pump was replaced several years ago by a local mechanic. The vehicle was taken back to the local mechanic for the most recent failure for a replacement to the power steering pump and the rack and pinion. The contact stated the vehicle was unsafe to drive and was concerned with the possibility of the failure causing a crash. The failure mileage was 96,000. Updated 06/24/11 updated 06/30/11.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #172

Jun 022007

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
Power steering failure while driving vehicle. Failure occurs without warning, requiring an extreme effort to turn steering wheel or maintain wheel position if failure occurs while maneuvering on a curved section of highway. Failures began as warranty expired, and is now permanent. BMW service representatives were familiar with problem, stating that the cause was failure of the electro-hydraulic power steering pump, a non-repairable part. BMW had the part in stock, and with installation, gave an estimate exceeding $600 to replace pump. Due to the cost, I have not had the repair done.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #171

May 052011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


Intermittent power steering failure causing unexpected loss of power steering while car is in motion.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #170

Sep 012010

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The vehicle intermittently looses power steering, making it difficult to steer. The power assist cuts out intermittently, and will occasionally come back while the vehicle is in motion, though more often it begins working the next time the car is started. The frequency is variable - it goes months without a problem and then may have the problem for several consecutive days.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #169

May 182011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 66,330 miles
1. no events led up to this failure. It occurred spontaneously after turning off my car. 2. power steering pump stays on after car's engine is off, and the pump will not shut off. This occurs every time the car is turned off and persists until the car is restarted or the battery dies. The constantly on power steering pump is know to lead to fires or spontaneously killing power steering while driving around turns. 3. the only way to fix this issue is to replace the power steering pump or leave the battery unplugged in the car. I currently have ordered a new power steering pump.

- Maryville, TN, USA

problem #168

May 172011


  • 84,000 miles
May 17th while turning left at an intersection was taken by surprise at the effort suddenly needed to turn my vehicle, causing me to go wider than needed. Nearly hit another motorist turning left in other direction. Stopped to check for low fluid level and found no deficiencies. Was able to make it home where I will park the car indefinitely.

- Indiantrail, NC, USA

problem #167

May 172011


  • 65,000 miles


MINICooper S 2004- power steering failure, going in and out, extremely difficult to navigate the vehicle around corners and disturbing to say the least. Have not taken it to the dealership yet, apparently this is a 'common' problem on MINIcoopers of this manufacturing period, according to the service department representative at the local dealership. I'm afraid that if this happens when I'm driving at a crucial moment that it will lead to an accident. Also concerned that the cost of repair (the car is not under warranty any more) will be more than I can bear as far as cost. This does not seem like a cost that should be burdened by the owner, it is an issue of safety and should be a major concern of the auto manufacturer.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #166

Apr 202010


  • 29,000 miles
Power steering pump failure.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #165

Aug 012008

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Power steering is not reliable; sometimes works, and sometime does not. Consequently it causes dangerous situations particularly in slippery conditions. Initially the problem was barely noticeable. When consulted, MINIservice stated that this is not a fault but a characteristic of the MINIWith time the steering got progressively less predictable. And, the problem was rectified about two years ago with replacement of the power steering pomp. One year later, the unpredictable loss of power steering returned again (sporadically), and now come (permanent) future of driving.

- Putnam Valley, NY, USA

problem #164

Apr 262011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Drove 70 mi from milltown, NJ to valhalla, NY on April 26. Power steering stopped functioning upon arrival. Turning off and restarting engine remedied the problem. On return trip, failure occurred just past essex tolls on garden state - about half way to return destination. Checked and topped fluid. The steering fails regularly according to this pattern. It appears that power steering pump cooling fan has stopped working. I will replace fan. If this does not remedy the situation, I will replace the power steering pump. I will retain the old parts.

- Milltown, NJ, USA

problem #163

May 082011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Complete loss of power steering immediately after starting vehicle. This is much harder to steer than a car which never had power steering to begin with. Almost impossible to turn the wheel.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #162

May 072011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
Was driving my son home from a soccer tournament, traveling about 70 mph, when the steering failed-I could only turn the steering wheel about 1" in each direction. Terrifying. The problem persists, and the car is unsafe to drive-I'll probably need to tow it to the mechanic.

- Norwich, VT, USA

problem #161

Apr 282011


  • 71,331 miles
The contact owns a 2004 BMW MINICooper. While driving approximately 20 mph, the contact noticed that the steering wheel became hard to move. The contact did not inform the dealer or manufacturer of the failure nor was the vehicle diagnosed or repaired. The current and failure mileage was 71,331.

- Brainerd, MN, USA

problem #160

Apr 232011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 85,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 MINICooper. The contact was driving 35 mph when the power steering failed. The vehicle was turned off and restarted yet the failure continued. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop where the power steering pump and power steering cooling fan were replaced. The manufacturer was not notified. The current and failure mileage was approximately 85,500. Updated 09/07/11 updated 10/31/11

- Evergreen Park, IL, USA

problem #159

Apr 212011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Lost power steering intermittently last month while driving and now the fan stays on and runs the engine till the battery is dead. I need to have it jumped everytime I want to drive it. MINIstated they will not replace it for free "they don't care if there is an investigation, unit were ordered to fix it the cost is on the customer"

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #158

Mar 252011

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
2004 MINICooper S power steering failed on I93 South on my way to work in boston without any warning, speed about 80 at 4:00am on the morning of 4/25/2011. Made it to work had car taken in for service at MINIof peabody MA the same day and was charged $1180 dollars to replace steering pump. Two weeks prior on 4/8/2011 at the same dealer at their recommendation replaced steering fan and return hose as a precaution during routine maintenance charged $500 dollars. Friday 4/22/2011 car was at same dealer to have the catalytic converter replaced followed by their usual test drive, there was no mention of any steering problem at that time nor did I experience any problem with the steering on my way back home after repair. My concern is if this had happened with out warning on an off ramp or when my wife or daughter were driving the out come could have been much different. I paid an extra $60 dollars to keep the old pump.

- Derry, NH, USA

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